HTC's Q1 revenue leaps 174.5 percent

The Taiwanese smartphone maker expects its tablets, and Facebook buttons on phones, to lift income again in Q2

High Tech Computer (HTC) reported another massive revenue increase in the first quarter due to brisk sales of smartphones, with more growth expected in the current quarter as its Flyer tablet PC and two handset models with dedicated Facebook buttons reach world markets, company officials said on Friday.

First-quarter revenue totalled NT$104.16 billion (US$3.6 billion), a year-on-year increase of 174.5 percent, executives from the fast-growing Taiwanese manufacturer told an investor conference. Revenue for the full year 2010 increased 93 percent over 2009 as HTC sold a total of 24.67 million units.

The increase reflects continued demand for smartphones, especially in the U.S., the company told investors. HTC had a 7.1 percent share of the global smartphone market last year, according to IDC.

HTC expects second-quarter revenue to continue to grow, but more slowly at 97 percent year on year, to NT$120 billion as the two phones with Facebook buttons, the Cha Cha and Salsa, begin selling along with HTC's Flyer, a tablet that runs Google's Android 2.4 OS, investor relations director Joey Cheng said.

The company declined to say how many of the 11 million units it expects to ship in the second quarter will be tablets. Market research firm Gartner forecasts shipments, for all brands, of 54.8 million [m] tablets this year, up 181 percent over 2010.

"There will be some new customers out there, but overall except for iPads I see tablets slowing down," said Helen Chiang, research manager with IDC in Taipei. "Tablets that run on Android 2.x would focus mainly on smartphone users but might find it hard to attract PC users."

Android 2.x operating systems were made for phones but can also run on tablets; Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is the version optimized for tablets.

HTC anticipates an overall strong 2011 as it accelerates product development and focuses on emerging markets, company Chief Executive Officer Peter Chou said in January. More investment in user interface and software are also on the agenda.

In March HTC named its first chief content officer, signalling that the company aims to push more deeply into software and applications, in addition to hardware.

HTC plans to hire 1,000 people this year, many of them for research, development and marketing, the company said in a statement on Friday.

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Ralph Jennings

IDG News Service
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